What the ed­i­to­ri­als said

The Week Middle East - - News -

When Isis cap­tured Mo­sul in the sum­mer of 2014, along with much of Iraq and Syria, it was able to present it­self “as the world’s most suc­cess­ful ter­ror group”, said The Times. If the at­tack on Mo­sul is suc­cess­ful, it will lose much of “its fear­some al­lure”. The as­sault has been two years in the mak­ing, be­cause the Iraqi army had to be re­built: 30,000 troops and po­lice fled from Mo­sul in the face of barely 1,300 ji­hadis. The army has now been trained by US in­struc­tors. To­gether with the Kur­dish pesh­merga and Shia mili­tias, “they ap­pear to be a se­ri­ous mil­i­tary coali­tion”. There are, how­ever, “many pit­falls” ahead, said the FT. The bat­tle could be “long and gru­elling”; aid groups are braced for civil­ian ca­su­al­ties and a refugee cri­sis. Iraq’s gov­ern­ment needs to show that it can po­lice re­claimed ter­ri­tory with­out “fur­ther in­flam­ing sec­tar­ian ten­sions”. Its record is “ter­ri­ble”. Ira­nian-backed Shia mili­tias ac­com­pa­ny­ing the Iraqi army on ear­lier of­fen­sives have treated Sun­nis who have lived be­hind Daesh lines “as fifth colum­nists”, and have com­mit­ted many atroc­i­ties. The gov­ern­ment must “keep the mili­tias out”.

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